Russia's COVID-19 death toll as of February crosses 225,000 - stats service

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has recorded over 225,000 deaths related to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic in April, the Rosstat statistics service said on Friday, a figure that is more than double the death toll cited by the government coronavirus task force.

FILE PHOTO: Grave diggers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) lower a coffin while burying a person in the special purpose section of a graveyard for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) victims on the outskirts of Saint Petersburg, Russia November 6, 2020. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

The statistics, which are reported on a monthly basis and with a lag, covering the period from April 2020 to February 2021, suggest that Russia has the third highest death toll in the world.

At 225,572, the total coronavirus-related death toll places Russia third after the United States, which has reported over 553,000 deaths, and Brazil, with over 325,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The figure is also more than double the widely-reported rolling death toll provided by the Russian government’s coronavirus task force on a daily basis.

That figure is currently at 99,633 deaths.

The authorities have said in the past that Rosstat’s figures are more complete, including data from autopsy reports not available for the daily tally.

Rosstat also provided monthly data, saying that 29,493 more people died in February this year than during the same month last year.

This marks an increase of 20.6% compared with February 2020, the last month to see no cases of coronavirus reported in Russia.

Of the total number of excess deaths in February, 24,369 were considered linked to the coronavirus, Rosstat said.

Russia recorded its first COVID-19 infection in early March 2020. The total number of cases since then recently crossed the 4.5 million mark.

Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov; Writing by Polina Ivanova; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Marguerita Choy